Tournament News

7th Southwest Classic Recap – Part 2: Purple Belts

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

By Danny O’Donnell

In the purple belt adult division, Power MMA & Fitness continued to showcase its up and coming talent with middleweight Jake Watson. Jake started his day off by winning the adult purple belt Middleweight division before entering the Open class. After three tough matches in the Open class, Jake ended his day with 2 gold medals.

Jake Watson 7th SW

Adriana Rascon, a purple belt Lightweight from Gracie Barra New Mexico, also put on a stellar performance. Adriana had 1 match in her weight class and 2 matches in the Open class. Despite being among the lighter competitors in the Open class, Adriana managed to emerge victorious. Her efforts earned her 2 gold medals for the day.

Adriana Rascon 7th SW

In the purple belt masters divisions, Nava BJJ competitors Eric Novak and Keola Kalama put on great performances. Eric won the Master 1 Middleweight division before earning his second gold medal in the Master’s 1 Open class. Keola also came away with 2 gold medals; the first in the Master 2 Ultra Heavy division and the second in the Master 2 Open class. The third Open class gold medalist from the purple belt master’s divisions was Heavyweight Edward Small of Rey Diogo/De Brazil, who won the Master 3 category. The purple belt divisions were among the most exciting of the tournament and brought great energy to the venue. The final recap on the brown and black belts will be up next. Stay tuned!

2015 AZ State Jiu Jitsu Championship Recap – Day 2

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

June 28th, 2015 marked the second day of the AZ State Jiu Jitsu Championships and was led off by the purple belts. Going into the day it seemed that the 1st place adult team trophy would mainly be contested by Caio Terra Association (CTA), Nava BJJ, and GD Jiu Jitsu. The purple belts of GD Jiu Jitsu, most notably Thomas Keenan and Josh Guerra, were on a mission to help secure the first place trophy for Team GD Jiu Jitsu. Josh started off his day by taking 2nd place in the heavy weight division. It would only get better from there, however, as he closed out the open division with teammate Thomas Keenan, scoring 3 submissions along the way. Thomas also had an incredible day, racking up 6 wins between the middleweight and open weight divisions.

2015 State Thomas & Josh

The final group of competitors to hit the mats at the 2015 AZ State Championships were the black belts. Carlos Farias, owner and head instructor of Carlos Farias Jiu Jitsu in Mesa, won the Master 3 black belt open class division defeating Salvador Flores from BJJ Revolution in the finals. Carlos started off the match with a takedown and used his signature top pressure to pass the guard. From there he was able to secure an arm triangle choke, getting the tap a little over 2 minutes in. The adult black belt division saw the black belt debut of GD Jiu Jitsu’s Jonathan Van Buren against Lotus Club’s Andrew Gardineer. Jon quickly pulled to cross guard where he was able to transition to a slick calf slicer, forcing the tap from his opponent. The win contributed to the 250 total points scored by GD Jiu Jitsu, which was enough to capture the 1st place adult team trophy. Nava BJJ secured the second place trophy with 149 points, followed by CTA with 134 points. Full team results can be seen below.

The 2015 AZ State Championships were yet another fantastic platform for Arizona’s top competitors to showcase their skills. With 715 competitors representing schools from across Arizona, the 2015 AZ State Championships were the largest tournament hosted by GD Events to date. The conclusion of the tournament left both the competitors and the spectators extremely excited for the Southwest Classic in October.

2015 State Adult Podium

1-GD Jiu Jitsu 250
2-Nava BJJ 149
3-CTA 134
4-BJJ Revolution 101
5-Power MMA 99
6-JCBJJ 87
7-Lotus Club 75
8-Gracie Arizona 65
9-Carlos Farias 55
10-CTA Arizona 53

2015 AZ State Jiu Jitsu Championship Recap – Day 1

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

With both the heat and the anticipation quickly rising, the kids divisions took to the mats to kick off the 2015 AZ State Jiu Jitsu Championships on Saturday June 27th. Schools from across the Valley competed for the first place kid’s trophy, which was captured by Power MMA back in April at the Kid’s Cup. While all the kids put on great performances, Caio Terra Association (CTA) was able to narrowly edge out Power MMA to capture the first place trophy, scoring 149 points to Power’s 144. Below are the overall results for the kid’s teams. Congratulations to all the kids who competed, as they brought a level of fun and enthusiasm that carried on throughout the tournament.

2015 State Kid's Podium

1-CTA 149
2-Power MMA 144
3-Lotus Club 94
4-GD Jiu Jitsu/Horizons M.A. 83
5-BJJ Revolution 79
6-Nava BJJ 57
7-Higher Ground 46
8-Osborn BJJ 38
9-GD Jiu Jitsu 35
10-BJJ Revolution Blackout 28

As the kid’s divisions finished up mid-day, the blue and brown belts were eager to join in on the action. The standouts of the brown belt division included GD Jiu Jitsu’s Daniel Hampton and Lotus Club’s Sean Downie, among others. Daniel was able to capture first place in the adult brown belt heavyweight division, beating Sean via choke in the process. Both athletes also competed in the open division, where Sean and Daniel met again in the finals. In their second match Sean was able to catch Daniel in tight kneebar to capture the gold, capping off an excellent display of heart and technique from both competitors.

Daniel & Sean 2015 State

The blue belts were up next and comprised some of the largest divisions of the tournament. One of the main standouts of the blue belts was Nava BJJ’s Kevin LePert. Kevin captured gold in the adult blue belt heavy weight division as well as the adult blue belt open division, using the triangle choke as one of his main attacks. While there was no shortage of exciting action on Saturday, the teams were very excited for the purple belt and black belt divisions on Sunday as their efforts would determine the overall team results for the adult competitors. These results will be covered in the next post!

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the Grand Canyon State

Monday, July 13th, 2015


When many people think of high quality jiu jitsu in the United States, Southern California and New York immediately come to mind. While these places are undeniably hotbeds of jiu jitsu talent, Arizona is also home to amazingly talented instructors and competitors. What often separates one area from another in terms of the level of its jiu jitsu is the presence of high quality tournaments, as they challenge practitioners to continually strive to achieve better performance and results.

The AZSBJJF and GD Events have been hosting top quality tournaments in Arizona for well over a decade. What started as a 40 person in house tournament in 2001 has expanded into annual competitions for adults, kids, and master level athletes. These tournaments include the AZ Open, The Copa Bella/Kid’s Cup, The AZ State Championships, and the Southwest Classic. Just as the Arizona jiu jitsu scene has come a long way, so has my personal journey to the Grand Canyon State.

My name is Danny O’Donnell and I will be contributing to the blog in an effort to bring you more awareness about the instructors, athletes, brands, and tournaments that make the Arizona jiu jitsu community so unique. This will include interviews, tournament recaps, seminar reviews, and any other news or information related to Arizona jiu jitsu. These blog entries should provide you with a better understanding of how special our community is and how it fits into the bigger picture of the growth of jiu jitsu in the U.S.

My personal journey started in Chicago, and after taking a seminar and private class with the head of the AZSBJJF Gustavo Dantas, I drove approximately 1,753 miles Southwest. I knew that in order to dedicate myself to my personal goals on the mat, I needed to surround myself with the types of world class instructors and athletes that call Arizona home. I first arrived In Tempe, AZ at the end of August 2014 with the goal of competing in as many tournaments as possible. One of these tournaments was the 2015 AZ State Championships, which were held on June 27th and 28th at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. Stay tuned as the next series of posts will cover the tournament results and highlight some of the standout competitors.

Full results are available at

2015 AZ BJJ State Championship on June 27th & 28th

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015


Registration available at


2015 AZ BJJ State Championship on June 27th & 28th

Sunday, April 26th, 2015


The 2015 AZ BJJ State Championship will take place on June 27th & 28th at the Desert Vista High School, located at 16440 S. 32nd St, Phoenix AZ 85048

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition will offer Kids, Juvenile, Adult, Masters 1, 2 & 3 Divisions (Gi only).

IMPORTANT: Registration will be closed after 350 kids competitors and 450 adult competitors.

GD Jiu-Jitsu Events will be offering FREE tournament T-Shirts to ALL competitors! The winners of each division will receive a 2015 AZ State Champion Patch!

Full information and registration available at 

3rd Copa Bela – All FEMALE BJJ Tournament and Stand up Seminar

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015


Copa Bela (All female) Jiu Jitsu Championship and BJJ Stand-Up Seminar

Women’s Jiu Jitsu programs across Arizona and the world have seen tremendous growth over the past few years. As a testament to this we see more female competitors and some of the fastest growing IBJJF divisions.

On the weekend of April 25th/26th 2015, GD JIU JITSU EVENTS will be hosting the 3rd Copa Bela all female Jiu Jitsu tournament in Phoenix, Arizona as well as an all female BJJ Stand-Up seminar.

The tournament will offer FEMALE only divisions (Gi) for Juvenile, Adult and Masters.

The BJJ Stand-Up Seminar will be taught by Sarah Black, a 2nd degree Judo Black Belt and BJJ Brown Belt. Sarah is a BJJ Purple Belt World Champion, Pan Jiu Jitsu Champion, Asia Champion, and a 12 times IBJJF International Open Gold Medalist.

This seminar is FREE to all 2015 Copa Bela Competitors, or $40 for non-competitors ($50 at the door). It’s open to all women 16 years and older.

Please visit for more details:

Copa Bella Tournament on Saturday, April the 25th, 2015

Location:         Phoenix College, located at 1202 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ, 85013.
Divisions:        FEMALE Juvenile, Adult and Masters (Gi only)
Pricing:            Before Monday April 13th: $70, After Monday April 13th: $80
Deadline:        All registrations must be received by Monday, April 20th by 11:59 pm. 

BJJ Stand-Up Seminar on Sunday, April 26th, 2015 (From 2 to 5pm)

Location:         Gracie Arizona, 2109 E. McDowell Rd, Phoenix AZ 85006
Pricing:            FREE to all 2015 Copa Bela Competitors, $40 for non-competitors ($50 at the door)
NOTE:              It’s open to all women 16 years and older.


3rd Copa Bela (All female tournament) & 7th AZ Kids Cup on April 25th

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The 3rd Copa Bela (All female tournament) and the 7th AZ Kids Cup of BJJ will take place on April 25th at the Phoenix College, located at 1202 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85013. Registration available now at Sign up now!




2014 Final School Rankings and MVP Competitors

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

new AZSBJJF logo final

2014 was a competitive year for the Arizona Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Community.  Many schools had good years through the four major tournaments: 9th International AZ Open, 6th AZ Kids Cup, 2014 AZ State Championship and the 6th Southwest BJJ Classic, but only five can finish on the podium.


1st Place – GD Jiu-Jitsu Academy

2nd Place – Nava BJJ

3rd Place – CTA

4th Place – BJJ Revolution

5th Place – Power MMA


1st Place – Power MMA

2nd Place – Nava BJJ

3rd Place – Siege MMA/Lotus Club

4th Place – Primero BJJ

5th Place – CTA

Today, we are also announcing the MVP’s of the 2014 Tournament Season. The MVP’s will have their entry fees sponsored by GDJJ Events for the 2015 Tournament Season.

The Kids 2014 Male MVP goes to Xavier Castillo (Siege MMA/Lotus) who won all four tournaments!  Honorable mention goes the runner ups Ben Currance (CTA) and Ian Mowery (GD Jiu-Jitsu Academy), who also won all four tournaments but had a couple less matches than Xavier.

The Kids Female MVP Award goes to Ayden Peterson (Power MMA). Ayden won all four tournaments in 2014!  The runner up goes to Elias Flores (Daimyo BJJ) who also won all four tournaments but again had less matches than Ayden.

The Award for the Adult Male 2014 MVP goes to Nathan Hagberg (GD Jiu-Jitsu Academy), who finished the year with five gold medals in three tournaments.  The runner ups were David Larson (GD Jiu-Jitsu Academy), Horlando Monteiro (GD Jiu-Jitsu Academy) and Javier Diaz (CheckMat/Chute Boxe), who also won his division in all three of the tournaments this year.

The Adult Female Award goes to Gudrun Gunther (CheckMat/ Chute Boxe), who had great year winning four gold medals in three tournaments. The runner up was Jennifer Bann (GD Jiu-Jitsu Academy), who also won all three tournaments of the year.

The end of 2014 sets up the beginning of 2015 and the chase for MVP starts February 21st & 22nd at the 9th AZ International Open! Full info for the 10th AZ International Open at GD Events Website.

Seminar with Alberto Crane in Tucson on 01/24/2015

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014